Panpsychism, Emergence and Physicalism

Report
Panpsychism,
Emergence and
Physicalism
Anand Rangarajan
Dept. of Computer and Information Science and Engineering
University of Florida
Realistic physicalism & panpsychism
• When more radical alternatives - idealism or
mysticism - are ruled out, only physicalism
remains.
• Emergence - most popular physicalist approach –
technological circles.
• Does realistic physicalism entail panpsychism?
(Strawson)
• Rapprochement between panpsychism and
emergence?
Panpsychism
• Primordial approach recast in
modern and postmodern
settings (Skrbina).
• Consciousness “all the way
down.”
• Varieties of panpsychism
(Turausky).
• Combination problem of
panpsychism.
JCS 10:3, 2003
Emergence
• Default approach in technological
circles.
• Emergence, complexity, selforganization – standard tropes in
theoretical biology.
• Emergence of consciousness
from life.
• Emergence of qualia from brain
function.
• Complexity problem for
emergence.
JCS 8:9-10, 2001
Panpsychism and Emergence
• Panpsychism
• Main problem: How does phenomenology add? The
combination problem of panpsychism.
• Emergence
• Main problem: Is “More is different” true?
The complexity problem of emergence.
• Clue: Problems faced by both approaches related
to combination of basic elements
Panpsychism, Emergence & Physicalism
Physicalism
Panpsychism
Emergence
Combination problem
Complexity problem
Conservative option
Emergence
Radical option
Reformulate physicalism
Conservative option
Panpsychism
Physicalism
• “Everything is physical”:
explanatory gap.
• Can physicalism be expanded to
accommodate consciousness?
• Why is it accompanied by experience?
(Chalmers)
• Forced into speculative ontology
because of hard problem.
Source: esa.int
Physicalism = Physicalism + X
• Add ingredient X to physicalism.
• Physicalism should remain physicalism despite X.
• Re-examine panpsychism and emergence in light
of new physicalism.
• It is accompanied by experience because X is
always accompanied by experience.
Orienting Intuition
• Experience implies subject of experience –
the experiencer (Frege).
• Avoid doubling of problems:
• the problem of experience.
• the problem of subjects.
• Subjects cannot be Cartesian –
controversial.
• Both panpsychism and emergence have
difficulties related to combination of basic
elements.
Clues: Problems in panpsychism
and emergence
• Panpsychism: Combination problem. How
does phenomenology add up?
• Emergence: Is there a level of complexity
at which consciousness “pops out”?
• Common problem: The many somehow
become one.
• Could compositionality be the missing
ingredient X?
A fundamental compositionality
• A counter-intuitive proposal.
• Assertion: Physicalism + fundamental
compositionality accompanied by experience.
• Letter but not the spirit of panpsychism:
fundamental but not pan.
• Spirit but not the letter of emergence:
non-reductive but fundamental.
Experience
Subjects
New ingredient
X
Physicalism
Compositionality
Compositionality and Experience
• A composition is always accompanied by experience.
• Structural counterpart to phenomenology.
• Combinations not accompanied by experience.
• Uniqueness of compositions related to ineffability of
qualia?
Compositions versus Combinations
• Fundamental composition of basic elements
contrasted with combinations of basic elements.
Phenomenology
Chemistry
Combination
Fundamental Composition
Physics
Basic Elements
Basic Elements
Physics
Recap of new physicalism
• Panpsychism
>> combination problem.
• Emergence >> complexity problem.
• New physicalism with compositions.
• Experience implies subjects of experience.
• Subjects are
• (possibly unique) fundamental physical compositions.
• always accompanied by experience.
• Compositions contrasted with combinations.
• the former is necessary for experience.
Summary
1. Everything is physical.
1. Denied by idealists.
2. There is experience.
2. Denied by
eliminativists.
3. Experience cannot
exist without subjects
of experience.
4. Subjects are physical
(compositions).
3. Denied by
materialists?
4. Denied by dualists.
Related ideas and background
• Chalmers: addition of experience to physicalist
base.
• Van Gulick: Varieties of emergence.
• Rosenberg: receptivity, ingressions and causation.
• Stoljar: Ignorance and physicalism.
• Strawson: Realistic physicalism entails
panpsychism.
• Montero: Inscrutables and Russelian physicalism.
Discussion
• Panpsychism with emergence used to solve the
combination problem – conservative option.
• Radical option: a fundamental compositionality
contrasted with standard physical combinations.
• Compositions always accompanied by experience:
motivated by subjects of experience and inscrutables.
• Spirit of emergence and the letter of panpsychism.
Thank You
Objections
• New ingredient merely motivated by subjects
of experience.
• Freedom for adding compositions to
physicalism not fleshed out.
• Experience epiphenomenal due to causal
closure?
• What actually distinguishes compositions from
combinations?
Do possibilities exist?
• Elitzur-Vaidman bomb testing experiment
If bomb is a dud, only D detects photon
If only C detects the photon, bomb is not a dud
Destructive interference at C only because both possibilities exist
Physicalism: Trajectories vs.
Possibilities
Trajectories
• Evolution of particles and
fields from the big bang
Possibilities
• Natural laws constrain
the set of possibilities in
spacetime.
• Phase space
• Configuration space
• No room for top down
causation.
• New “entities” can
further reduce set of
possibilities.
Compositions acting on
possibilities
• Current quantum field theories: evolution of scalar
and vector fields in time.
• Instead we envisage a basic physicalism with a
restriction operator on set of possibilities.
• Compositionality: further restriction on
possibilities accompanied by experience.
• Qualia: What it’s like to choose? Interior
counterpart to choice.
• Ontologically bold, hence almost surely wrong.
William James on
combination problem
“Where the elemental units are supposed to be feelings,
the case is in no wise altered. Take a hundred of them,
shuffle them and pack them as close together as you can
(whatever that might mean); still each remains the same
feeling it always was, shut in its own skin, windowless,
ignorant of what the other feelings are and mean. There
would be a hundred-and-first feeling there, if, when a
group or series of such feeling were set up, a
consciousness belonging to the group as such should
emerge” (James, 1890)
The Combination
Problem
• How does phenomenology add up?
• What about awareness of “mid-level subjects”
[James 1890, Seager - JCS 2:3]?
• Intersubjective phenomenal content at midlevel?
• Quantum coherence etc. suggested as
objective criteria.
• Ontology of subjects as a way out?
Nested Compositions
• Fundamental compositions formulated from
intuition regarding subjects.
• Qualia correlate with compositions.
• Nested compositions provide structure for
qualia.

similar documents